Rhode Islander is Lead Diver in historic scientific mission - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Rhode Islander is Lead Diver in historic scientific mission

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Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

"It's a submarine you can wear," said professional diver Michael Lombardi, of the nearly 600 pound Exo–Suit that he'll be using deep in the watersaround the ocean state.

It's technology that will make possible a historic 1thousand foot dive a hundred miles off Rhode Island's coast this summer.

A depth only a handful of people have ever explored.

The East Providence resident will be on the lookout for bioluminescent organisms.

 "We'll be in this environment first hand, and be seeing a lotof these animals with the human eye for the very first time," he said.

While the July dive may line up a series of firsts, potentiallythe most exciting part is what all the research may find.

"We're working with people in the bio–medical field thatcould make groundbreaking discoveries from this type of work... The functionswithin the animals that make the light are generally proteins... They can be isolated...Purified, modified and actually attached to cells in the body, be it cancercells, brain cells, and so on," he said.

Though the reward is great... The dive comes with risks.

But Lombardi says he trusts in the equipment, and the greater need for scientific exploration.

"I've always pushed the front line because I believe in it, Ithink that humans have an obligation to challenge ourselves, continually askquestions, and that's what takes us into new frontiers," he said.

For more information on how you can keep up with the dive, checkout Lombardi's website: http://anewlifeinthesea.blogspot.com/

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